Saturday, December 02, 2017

Where we're at now

Just a brief and not particularly original thought as I try to process Senate passage of this travesty of a tax bill.

While Trump's election has the feel of a perfect storm catastrophe, perfect storms are usually the result of a a long sequence of dysfunctions, and the total corruption of the Republican party was bound to lead to catastrophe at some point. I recall Jonathan Chait saying as much as an episode of debt ceiling legislative terrorism loomed in (IIRC) 2013. His point was not that that particular crisis would lead to default, but that a party always willing to go to the brink in defense of an ideology cooked up to serve the narrow interests of the superrich would lead us over the cliff at some point. Put another way, if it had not been completely evident before, it was evident after Obama's reelection that the fever would not break.

In some ways it's a consolation to view our plight not as an accident that a breath of wind could blown off course but as a reckoning with pathologies we've been collectively grappling with at least since the Reagan era (and far earlier, as every origin has multiple origins behind it).

One other not particularly fresh thought. While I've felt since my first encounters with Marxism in high school that there was something obviously ridiculous in that mechanistic view of history, Marx had one insight that the devolution of American "conservatism" has made blindingly obvious: dominant ideologies take shape to protect and justify the interests of the ruling class. We are increasingly living in a Koch-cooked and Murdoch-mulled ideological murk in which Randism and racism are now thoroughly merged and in which a third of the population is immersed and we are collectively immiserated.  As right wing interests (Murdoch, Sinclair) get control of even larger chunks of our media, this could get worse.

Polls indicate that a large majority of the population is not yet brainwashed. The question is whether a n electoral wave can outrun a combination of voter suppression and the failures of democratic representation embedded in our Constitution. Also, in simplest terms, whether Republicans are far gone enough to countenance Trump's inevitable moves to fire Mueller.

We'll find out soon enough.

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